Okra can be a tricky vegetable to cook.
But as I always say, our ancestors were smart. Lightly frying the okra beforehand is the special technique they used to get rid of the slimy texture. Another tip is to find the smallest sized okra as it’s usually the most tender. And finally, keep the skillet uncovered. This ensures the okra stays crispy and juicy at the same time…now that’s genius.
Nutrition alert! Okra is high in soluble fiber, which helps to balance blood sugar levels. It also cleanses the intestines and feeds good gut bacteria. This means it’s a great detox food. It’s also an excellent source for many other nutrients such as B vitamins, folate, and other vision protecting compounds.
Okra can be hip. Okra can be cool! Cook it with these tips, and it will make you drool! I'm sorry, please ignore me. But please don't ignore this recipe!
- 1/4 cup canola, grapeseed or other neutral oil
- 1 lb okra
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 2 medium to large tomatoes, cubed
- 1-2 green chili peppers, sliced
- Heaped 3/4 tsp salt, or more to taste (1/4 tsp for frying the okra, heaped 1/2 tsp while adding the rest of the spices)
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/4 tsp red chili powder, or more to taste
- 1-2 tbsp chopped cilantro, for garnish (optional)
- freshly squeezed lemon juice (optional - I usually don't add it)
- Wash and dry the okra. Chop the okra into 1/2-inch pieces. The easiest way to do this is to line a few of them up and cut them at the same time. (Yay shortcuts!) Discard the stems. Sprinkle up to 1/4 tsp salt on the okra and mix. Set aside.
- Heat vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Stir-fry the okra, in two batches, until the slime disappears and the okra is starting to crisp. Use a slotted spoon to remove the okra from the pan and set it aside.
- Lower the heat to medium*, add the sliced onions. Add another tablespoon of oil, if needed, and sauté until they are lightly golden, about 10 minutes. Add the cubed tomatoes. Cook until the tomatoes soften, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining salt, cumin seeds and spice powders (coriander, cumin, turmeric and red chili). Mix well and add the fried okra and green chili. Sauté for a minute or two.
- Lower the heat to the lowest setting and let the okra simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Make sure not to overcook it so the okra retains its juicy flavor. Garnish with cilantro, and squeeze a just a bit of lemon, if desired.
- Serve with roti, naan or any other bread.
*I lower the heat because the oil is quite hot after removing the okra. I do raise it back to medium-high while sautéing the onions.